February 2018 Letter
Shortly the Great Lent will start. For our benefit let’s review an article by H.E. Metropolitan Pachomius on spiritual principles to benefit from it:
“The fathers teach us that lent is a time of spiritual storage for the whole year, enabling us to change our lives. Fasting in the Christian concept is not merely mandatory, but an important way through which the Grace of God helps you advance in your spiritual life. In order to benefit from lent, you need to practice humility which is greatly attenuated by periods of food abstinence, simplicity in thought and behavior, participation in church liturgical services, and practicing prostrations of repentance. In order for your spirit to be humbled and to receive the blessing of fasting, make sure that your life during lent is linked to the following:
- Set a spiritual goal for your fast: the more clear your goal is, the more you will benefit from fasting. Set for yourself a specific spiritual schedule to carry out during the fast, to struggle against sins, and strive positively to live by the Christian virtues that the Holy Spirit grows within you. So let us try to commit ourselves to a specific spiritual Bible study and spiritual books, urging the Lord to help us to commit and benefit from our spiritual program at the time of fasting.
- Know the sin you suffer from and strive against it: our current society has developed new types of sins like wasting time, sins of chastity, violence, superficiality, etc. And beloved sins will no doubt make you lose your eternity, damage your personality, and lose your relationship with others. So be careful to be accountable and realize your sins, and care to offer repentance and real confession before God and your father of your confession during the lent.
- Avoid excessive preoccupation with worries: during lent, the devils increase their annoying actions to distract us from focusing on the salvation of our souls. So do not give the worries more thought than they deserve; put them all in your prayers under the feet of the Lord, and do what you can without losing your peace and your preoccupation with your eternal salvation. Be attentive so that the thorns of this world will not make us lose our eternity.
- Avoid excessive preoccupation with the world: you may be interested in following events and news that will not benefit you, and waste much of our time in social networking or telephone communications, things that consume our time, with no time left to spend with God. We lose our spiritual canon, complaining that we don’t have sufficient time! Take heed or our lives will become a path treaded by all and will never grow fruit.
- Avoid laziness and be careful to respond to the work of God: we often seek to provide our bodies with rest, and laziness, which makes the heart hard as a rocky ground. So be careful not to respond to the bodily comfort, lest this comfort suffices our life. Determine your daily spiritual duties as special readings, prayers, and connections to church services, and care that you have a spiritual program to keep you away from laziness, because failing in your spiritual program will make you lose your internal peace.
May the blessing of St. Mary, St. Mercurius and the holy lent be with us all. Amen.
Belleville, February 1, 2018